Srinagar, Nov 26: The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll over the education sector in Kashmir.
Schools, colleges and universities have been closed since August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status. When it appeared that educational institutions will reopen the COVID-19 broke out and it led to these institutions getting closed again. For the past few months, students have been attending the online classes but many have not been able to get online education due to one or other reason.
An observer while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The slow internet speed in Kashmir has played a spoilsport. Despite that schools, colleges and other institutions have made every possible attempt to ensure that teachers reach out to the students and make them learn. But still many lacunas have been left open.”
A parent said, “Despite schools remaining closed the private educational institutions have been charging the fee and parents have been left with no other option other than to pay through their nose. We have been paying the tuition fee regularly.”
It’s in place to mention here that since August 2019, many teachers working in the private schools have lost their jobs. Besides teaching staff, non-teaching staff has also faced the brunt of the job cuts and layoffs.
“Initially our salary was slashed but later many teachers and others were sacked. We have been told by the private schools to return after the schools reopen. It’s not only the students who have suffered, but everyone associated with the education industry has faced the brunt. Many private schools have winded up the operations completely,” said a teacher.
He said, “During winter season, students in large numbers used to visit the coaching institutes but this year parents are not that keen in sending their wards to these institutions as the fear of getting infected due to COVID-19 is still prevailing everywhere.”
An expert said, “Normalcy cannot be restored till the COVID-19 vaccine comes. The shield is must for restoring the lost confidence of the people. No parent wants to risk the life of his ward.”
He said that in whichever places schools and colleges were reopened, the experiment failed miserably. “In the United States and Israel schools became the COVID hot spots. Same thing happened in few states across the country. Cure is must before children return to schools and the vaccine is not that far away,” the expert added.